It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday!
This is a story I found at the public library and then picked up a few days ago to read with morning coffee. I put it down and instantly started looking into more information on the internet. Jasper’s story is one you just might not know and all of us should. A terrible instance of animals being captured and imprisoned so that their bile can be extracted for use in traditional Asian medicine. All the more heartbreaking and cruel because there are more than 54 different kinds of herbal and synthetic substitutes.
This book tells the story of Jasper, one bear who was rescued – his journey to recovery and his amazing ability to forgive.
Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen (published 2013)
Jasper is a bear that was rescued by Jill Robinson (the author) and her Animals Asia team and brought to a sanctuary in China. He had been held in a cage for 15 years and was very weak and injured from so many years of cruel captivity. He required surgery to fix his injuries and then was placed in a large room that he could actually move around in to begin his recovery. As he grew stronger, he was exposed to an outside enclosure where he could learn to dig and search for food. As Jasper physically recovered, his spirit also healed. He demonstrated a playful side with other bears and welcome other new bears to the sanctuary. Jill describes Jasper as courageous and loving; a symbol of forgiveness and hope. This is such an important story that captures the work that Jill and her team do.
Detailed messages from both authors and the illustrator in the back of the book give more information about Jasper and other “farmed” bears that have been rescued in China and Vietnam. At this time, Animals Asia (the rescue center that was formed in 1998) has rescued over 400 bears.
More information about Animals Asia can be found on their website here. Very worth spending some time on this site. There, I found this video of a little sun bear cub, Layla, just rescued in Vietnam this month.
Other nonfiction picture books about bears that might be of interest. These are all information story books (narrative nonfiction). I have read each of these titles with my students in the past few years and found the learning and discussion they promote to be excellent. Jasper’s Story is one I will be sharing this year.
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.
My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 80/65 complete!